From the Executive Director

Welcome once again to PRAccess, an inside look at the workings and doings of Political Research Associates, prepared for our friends and supporters. We so appreciate all you do to make our work possible.

We've had a busy summer and fall at PRA. PRA research director Tarso Luís Ramos and Senior Analyst Chip Berlet are just back from the annual Values Voters Conference of the Christian Right. No surprise that the Christian Right is in disarray as to how to respond to the Republican candidates for president. Some voices promote pushing for the best nominee possible and then supporting him regardless of how far short of their ideal he may fall. Others advocate refusing to compromise and thus refusing to vote for Republicans who fail to meet their standards.

No surprise that they remain vitriolic regarding reproductive choice and gay marriage.

Not very surprising that misogyny was an overwhelming presence at the conference. Huge numbers of men chose to take a bathroom break when women took the stage. When those women pointed out that Religious Right women candidates generally capture more of the electorate than Religious Right men - but have to knock themselves out to pull in only a third as much financial (and other) support as men - male hissing and grumbling filled the room.

More surprising was the precipitous death and burial of all nuance and variation in their position on immigration. This year a "run them all out on a rail" approach was the only one heard - and it was roundly applauded.

To read Tarso and Chip's on the spot reflections on the event and see Chip's photos please go to the special conference link.

Speaking of PRA's web site - we're now averaging over 1.5 million hits a month from 600,000+ individual visitors. We're working to upgrade the appearance and navigability of the site so that we don't squander that amazing opportunity to reach the public.

We've also launched a PRA Salon Series as yet another opportunity for friends and supporters to deepen their knowledge about the Right's tactics to undermine social justice and government oppression to deny civil liberties. You'll see more about the salons in this issue of PRAccess.

Read on for more about the work your support makes possible. You've helped to make PRA the unique and important organization it is today. Now, we're primed for growth, and I ask that you give as generously as possible. I want to remind you of Leaping Left, a special major donor initiative whose members have each pledged $50,000 a year for three years. And, other donors have made pledges to give $2,500 to $10,000 for each of the next three years. These investments enable us to plan our work three years and more into the future, and they make us more efficient and effective. Please consider whether that level of commitment may be possible for you. But know that, whatever amount you are able to give will make a difference. Do give me a call if you'd like to discuss a multi-year pledge, if you know of others who aren't yet but may wish to become PRA donors, or if you'd like to talk about anything else regarding PRA.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support for PRA and your investment in building a more just and equitable country and world. And, best for the coming holiday seasons!

Katherine Ragsdale

Fall/Winter 2007
Volume 6, No. 2

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